Within hours of Sen. Elizabeth Warren (D-Mass.) releasing additional details about her Medicare For All Plan, House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) has a message for Democrats running for president: You guys are blowing it by moving too far to the left.
Bloomberg reports that during an interview in New York, the San Francisco Democrat expressed concerns about her party's candidates alienating moderate voters with their progressive policy agenda. According to Bloomberg:
Proposals pushed by Elizabeth Warren and Bernie Sanders like Medicare for All and a wealth tax play well in liberal enclaves like her own district in San Francisco but won't sell in the Midwestern states that sent Trump to the White House in 2016, she said.
Instead of pursuing ideas like abolishing the electoral college, government-run health insurance programs, and getting rid of private healthcare, Pelosi urged Democrats to focus on building upon the Affordable Care Act (Obamacare). "Protect the Affordable Care Act — I think that's the path to health care for all Americans. Medicare For All has its complications," she said, while adding "the Affordable Care Act is a better benefit than Medicare."
She added, "What works in San Francisco does not necessarily work in Michigan."
Too little, too late?
The House Speaker's comments come after Democratic leaders spent months and years cultivating a radical base that would propel them to power. In 2018, for instance, DNC Chairman Tom Perez said democratic socialist Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (D-N.Y.) is "the future of our party." Meanwhile, Pelosi graced the cover of Rolling Stone magazine earlier this year with Ocasio-Cortez and Rep. Ilhan Omar (D-Minn.).
Although Pelosi and Ocasio-Cortez had their differences this summer, it was reported the two patched things up in late July. In April, the San Francisco Democrat defended Omar following the release of a controversial video showing the Minnesota congresswoman describing the 9/11 terrorist attacks as an event where "some people did something."
Pelosi is rightfully worried, but the truth is that she and other Democrats have been reckless in their leadership of the party. The DNC has given a platform to radical voices that are now having an outsized influence over the party's direction and the presidential primary process.
It is true that Ocasio-Cortez and the Squad are small in numbers, but they are punching well above their weight. Their Green New Deal is co-sponsored by 11 Senate Democrats (including five presidential candidates) and 95 House Democrats.
Meanwhile, Warren proposes to cut school choice for parents; impose a wealth tax; and implement greater government control of broadband internet services. Furthermore, proposals by Senators Sanders, Gillibrand, and Booker want to guarantee a federal job to every American.
Rather than building a sustainable centrist coalition that could appeal to moderate voters, Pelosi, Perez, and others have elevated extremists and tried harnessing a radical base. As she must now be realizing, this was a foolish mistake that is jeopardizing her party's 2020 prospects and her control over the Democratic Party.